Is the door to your heart in good repair?
A reflection for the beginning of Lent, adapted from At Home in Lent by Gordon Giles
Behold, I stand and knock
Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
Have you ever paid any attention to your front door? The lock on mine broke recently, and then I suddenly became very interested in how it works, whether it would work and whether I would actually end up locked in or locked out. So I went to a locksmith and bought a new door lock, and then had some adventures getting the old one off and replacing it. All the while I was aware that if I were to make a mistake then the security of my family and possessions could be jeopardised.
However holy-minded or spiritually aloof one tries to be about one’s stuff, in the end we do worry about these things, and in a modern society do need to be wary of risk and realistic about personal safety and valuables. A front door is not just for keeping people out, of course: it is also for letting them in! As a parish vicar, I frequently open my door to people and have more visitors than most. Occasionally I have visitors who I don’t want to, or should not, let in. I learnt the hard way to be at least a little wary. We all get unwelcome visitors from time to time, selling, buying, conning or manipulating, and we have to engage in that ongoing inner dialogue: ‘Are they genuine?'
Maintain the door to your heart
Generally, our doors are not merely closed; they are locked. Thus, to open them is a two-stage process. That also assumes that our door has oiled hinges, is unobstructed and that the lock works; that is, as well as our wanting to open the door, it must be physically possible to do so. For, like my vicarage door with the broken lock, our spiritual doors must be maintained and cared for. Generally, we don’t pay attention to things until they break, but maintenance is vital. This, in a deep sense, is what this season of Lent is all about.
Lord Jesus, you stand at the threshold of every heart and seek the welcome of an open door. As our doorbells invite us to welcome friends and strangers alike, may we also invite and welcome you as a permanent guest into our lives. Amen